Help me pick a used car :)

I’m in the market for a used car but I don’t know what to get!

I’m a musician in my 20’s and need something that can handle a lot of highway miles.

The main criteria is this;

$10-$15k price range

I need something that can get good MPG while maintaining high cargo capacity for music gear + travel goods + 3-4 passengers.

What do you guys/gals think?

Mazda 5.

You may want to consider hatchbacks such as the Toyota Matrix or Honda Fit. For more cargo (but less mpg) try the Mazda 5.

Toyota rav4 or honda crv

I had a friend who bought a 3 year old chevy Impala I think about that price range he is really happy with.

Chevy HHR. You might be able to get a new one for $15K That has a new car warrenty

I’ve seen new 2008 HHR panel vans still available. There should be a health discount on them, especially. I don’t know whether the panel van seats 4, though.

Other possibilities are Scion xA or xB.

Other possibilities are Scion xA or xB.

gets my vote too…Elements aren’t comfy but you can stock them up if the weight isn’t too great.

All the choices seem TOO SMALL for 3-4 passengers–plus their musical gear.

I’d say: Ford Econoline Van…possibly the only vehicle specifically mentioned* in a song as being useful for transport of musical equipment!

  • Tonight’s the Night, Neil Young/Crazy Horse.

I would agree with the Ford Econoline van or the equivalent Chevrolet, GMC or Dodge van. My Uplander minivan was filled to capacity with three tympani, 1 string bass, 2 French Horns, a couple of music stands two passengers besides myself. We traveled a distance of 20 miles each way. With more equipment, the minivan would have been impossible. If you are on the road a lot with your group, forget the ges mileage. It is the least expensive item in vehicle ownership for most people anyway. With highway travel, the mileage won’t be too bad. The maintenance costs on a full size van may be less than a minivan or an SUV. We do have an SUV (2003 Toyota 4Runner) which is bigger than a Honda CRV or Toyota RAV-4. The 4Runner doesn’t have enough room for the instruments I have to haul.

Prospect, what are you hauling? String bass or clarinets?

Here are two other alternatives. If you are having to haul large musical instruments that aren’t affected by temperature (e.g. synthesizer plus amplifier) you might want t get a large rear wheel drive car (Ford Crown Victoria or Mercury Grand Marquis) and have it equipped to pull a trailer. Instruments not affected by the termperature go in the trailer–smaller instruments such as guitars go in the trunk of the car. Although I like the full size van suggestion better, you wll get better mileage with a Crown Victoria when you don’t have the trailer in tow.

The best vehicle I owned for hauling passengers and musical equipment was a 1990 Ford Aerostar (extended version). However, mine got old and tired and I went the minivan route–First a Ford Windstar and then the Chevrolet Uplander). I would buy the Ford Aerostar again in a flash. The mileage ran about 22 on the road. If you can find the latest model used Aerostar (I think they were made through 1996-7) in good condition, this might be a way to go. A Chevrolet Astro minivan or the equivalent GMC may serve your purposes and I think they stayed in production longer than the Ford Aerostar.

Be sure to get the 8-cyl so you get the best gas mileage. Actually, that’s just the Chevy. The Ford 6-cyl is 1 MPG better on the highway, and the Dodge is equal for either engine. Since the gas mileage is almost equivalent, get the 8-cyl. Of course, the mileage is so bad that they all qualify for the C4C program.

You might consider a 2006 or earlier Dodge Sprinter. It’s supposed to get mid to high 20s on the highway - at least one third better than the more traditional full size vans.

i’ve heard of HHR’s getting 40 MPG on the highway loaded up with stuff.

A used minivan can handle all you ask as long as the weight isn’t too great as well.

A good used Dodge Caravan, if you have it inspected by a trustworthy mechanic, should fit your needs. I tend to be a Sienna lover, but if you don’t intend to drive it a long ways, the extra money will not get you that much more. You can get a good used Caravan, if you look, in that price range.

I get 24 mpg at a steady 70 mph. Slower is higher. Around town clearly is going to be much less.

I agree you are not talking car, unless something gigantic, but I doubt even a Crown Vic will carry all you want.